Mouse lemurs come in two personality types when it comes to extracting them from the trap. Either they curl themselves into a very small ball in the corner of the trap, or they attempt a bold leap out of the trap and then make a hasty rush for the corner of the tent. Either way they’re pretty amusing to work with, but are quite cooperative patients once we get them in hand.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Hiking is never a boring task up here when there are surprises around every corner. You never know when you might run into a ginormous pill bug (Order Sphaerotheriida). Doesn’t it just make you want to conglobate (aka roll into a little ball?)
Or you could witness one of the amazing leaf-tailed geckos (genus Uroplatus).
Or shake hands with a potentially toxic millipede. Such is diversity in Madagascar!
Monday, August 25, 2008
Photo credit: Fidy R.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
We live on the boundary of the Betampona reserve in the small village of Rendrirendry, which consists of 10 to 15 huts mostly inhabited by the Betampona conservation agents and their families. We experience all of the charming and less charming qualities of village life in Madagascar—the spunky Malagasy kids in the village are definitely a plus. They tend to burst into giggles every time they see us (aka the “vazaha be”, or “big white person”) walking around in our ridiculous outfits. My least favorite aspect of village life is the resident group of roosters who crow at 2, 3, 4, and 5 AM (for practice) and then at sunrise (for good measure).
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Not only fashion, but function as well. Now introducing the field work/hiking/catching mouse lemurs/slipping down muddy hills/dodging leaches/ new summer line. Socks and mud included.
We highly recommend the sock look, and not just for the haute couteur look. Socks are essential in keeping out those blood-sucking enemies of ours. The leaches rain down from the sky on wet days, so be aware of large drops that go down your shirt!
Obviously this is a popular style, as it seems that everyone is doing it. I now introduce my male researcher counterpart, with exactly the same sense of style. Patrick H, Botanist.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
There are certain reasons why this preserve has remained more or less intact thus far. The diligent presence of its conservation agents makes a difference, and the watchful eye of the Madagascar Fauna Group certainly plays a role. But there’s another reason why large primary forest trees remain here. It’s steep. Really steep. Every morning we huff and puff up the first 2 kilometers out of camp, a trail that brings us up the steep ridgeside to the rolling ridgetop skirted by the main trail in the preserve, Piste Principal. Whew. Who ever said you didn’t get a work out with field work? Check it out….
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Despite disturbances, a broad diversity of wildlife and plant species remain, including 11 lemur taxa, 3 of which are endangered (Indri indri, Varecia variegata variegata, and Propithecus diadema diadema). We’ll continue to focus on Microcebus here, so we’ll set traps every night on many of the trails in the preserve.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Check out the resourceful porters carrying our beast-sized bags…they will most likely still beat us up the slippery mountainside. In flip flops no less.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
We’re on to our next site—Betampona Strict Nature Reserve. It takes a little more effort to get there…..1 4X4 ride, 10 porters, 1 canoe, 1 taxi-brousse, and then 6 more porters and a 4 kilometer slog through the mud, and voila! We’re there!
We’ll be in Betampona for a little over 2 weeks, and we’ll focus on Microcebus capture there. No computer access in this part of town, so we’ll check in when we’re back in range! Keep checking the blog, new entries should be popping up periodically!
Saturday, August 2, 2008